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CERB: Nearly $12 million paid to foreign addresses

The federal government sent nearly $12 million in Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) payments to more than 1,600 applicants with foreign addresses during the first seven months of the pandemic.

Documents released in the House of Commons last week show 1,610 people have received pandemic financial aid despite applying with a mailing address outside of Canada.

The government paid these individuals a total of $11.9 million by the time the program was replaced with the new benefits system in September 2020.

The now defunct CERB program was rolled out rapidly at the start of the pandemic. The government has selected a few prepaid certified checks against $500 a week checks to speed payments during the March and April 2020 lockdown when three million jobs were lost.

In the end, CERB raised $81.64 billion for 8.9 million recipients.

Although at the time the eligibility requirements stated that benefits were only available to workers residing in Canada, the document states that “while the CERB requires individuals residing within Canada to qualify conditions, some individuals may have been temporarily out of the country, or working temporarily in Canada”.

For example, a student who is abroad temporarily, or someone who is unable to return home due to pandemic restrictions, may already be eligible.

Nearly half, or 720, of the 1,610 subscribers have a US-based mailing address. Another 90 mailing addresses are listed in the UK, 80 in India and France, 60 in Australia, 50 in Ireland and the rest in dozens of other countries not listed in the document.

This comes as the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is sending out a new round of letters to pandemic aid recipients to verify that they are eligible for help, warning of the possibility of needing to return those donations. what they received.

According to The Canadian Press, the CRA sent more than 441,000 letters to CERB recipients near the end of 2020 asking them to verify that they met the eligibility rules for the payments.

Following a critical review by auditor general Karen Hogan last March on missed opportunities to prevent fraud and false payments, the government said it would spend four years tracking down any false payments. .

– With files from the Canadian Press

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